Tuesday, January 29, 2008

On a Roll

I suggested in my post-UConn post that perhaps Indiana fans shouldn't be too distraught about the loss to the Huskies, given the quality of their 2-point defense and how it matches up against IU's preferred offense. I even went so far as to suggest that Connecticut didn't miss suspended players Jerome Dyson and Doug Wiggins very much. One blogger I read took it a step further, suggesting that UConn is actually better off without Dyson in the starting lineup. I'm not sure about that, but he makes some interesting points.

Last night, the Huskies traveled to Louisville, their roster still "depleted" or "short-handed," as they were without the two still-suspended players. Once again, UConn came away with a very good victory, winning 69-67. I wondered ahead of time if the missing back court players might be more significant in the face of the Rick Pitino press, thinking fatigue might make the difference down the stretch. It seemed that the UConn players were indeed gassed toward the end, but they managed to gut it out. Louisville also seemed to go with the strategy I advocate for Indiana, launching 33 3-pointers (out of 60 total shots) in the game. Unfortunately for the Cardinals, they only hit 11 of those trifectas, although those shots still provided a better effective field goal percentage than their shots inside the arc. Just a tiny bit better shooting from the bonusphere means a victory for Louisville.

Regardless of their opponents disparate strategeries, UConn is on an excellent 4-game, beating Marquette and Louisville at home, with road victories at Cincinnati and Indiana in between. Three out of those four teams are currently in the top 20 in the Pomeroy ratings. I don't believe there are many, if any, better stretches in the country this season. If the Huskies keep playing excellent defense, I'm thinking they may figure more in the national picture by the end of the season.

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